College Football Nation: Rivalry Week and Olympus has Fallen

Jeff Hostetler FishWrap, FishWrap Archive


If you were not near a TV or news feed today, then you missed out on some of the greatest games we have seen all season.  When it is Rivalry Week, you can just throw out the records and expect both teams to bring it.  So many exciting finishes, and I think we just might have a Heisman winner — and two teams ready for the national title game in January.

Let’s get into the scores, news and thoughts from today’s games:

1. GAME OF THE WEEK Auburn 34 Alabama 28.  One of the crazy finishes I have ever seen.  There were so many plays in this game that contributed to the outcome.  If you didn’t see it, here is how it went down.  All tied up at 28 a piece, Alabama tried to kick a 56-yard field goal with :01 left on the clock.  The kick went wide right but an Auburn player was back for the return and return it he did.  The Tiger took it back 100 yards for a touchdown, to pull the upset and head to Atlanta for the SEC Title Game.  Coach of the year . . . Gus Malzahn.  From winless in the SEC last year to winning the SEC West.  Olympus has fallen.  We will most likely not have an SEC team playing for the national title in the final year of the BCS.

And who will Auburn’s opponent be?  Missouri took care of business vs. Johnny F. and the Texas A&M Aggies, 28-21.  At times during the game Manziel just looked like he was done with it all and did not even want to be in college anymore.  Amazing turn around for Missouri, after not even being bowl eligible last year.  Both Auburn and Missouri hope that next week there is an upset of one of the two teams ahead of them, Florida State or Ohio State, to slip into the title game.

Make it 5 in a row for the 1st time ever.  South Carolina forced 6 turnovers to win it’s 5th straight over Clemson, 31-17.  The Ol’ Ball Coach Steve Spurrier even made a jab at Clemson when speaking to the media when asked about the 5-game win streak over the Tigers . . . “They just seem to play bad when they play us.” Classic Spurrier!

SEC QUICK HITS:  Vanderbilt finished the season with 8 wins after beating Wake Forest, 23-21.  Look for Vanderbilt’s coach, James Franklin, to get a few calls this off season from some bigger programs.  Georgia missed Aaron Murray but was able to rally and beat in-state rival Georgia Tech, 41-34.  It took overtime but the Bulldogs got it done.  Tennessee beat Kentucky, 27-14, in a meaningless season-ending game.  Mississippi State played inspired football to win the “Egg Bowl” over Ole Miss, 17-10.  Dan Mullen has worked miracles at Mississippi State and can probably expect a few looks from other BCS programs.  LSU won a heart stopper over Arkansas, 31-27.  It took a late touchdown pass in the final minute of the game from LSU’s backup QB to secure the win.  Typical Les Miles with his team winning in the final minute.

The SEC is officially out from the title game barring a few upsets.  Auburn has been a pleasant surprise all season but made a statement today to show they were for real all this time.

2. FSU demolished their in-state rival Florida, 37-7.  Everyone knew this would happen, but Florida State still had to play the game. After today’s game, Jameis Winston is in position to win the Heisman and lead his school to it’s first national title since 1999.  It is their’s to lose.

Duke beat North Carolina, 27-25, to secure its school’s first ever 10-win season and a spot in the ACC title game vs. FSU.  It has been a great season for Dave Cutliffe, but all good things must come to an end when they go up against FSU next week.

ACC QUICK HITS: Maryland ended their final season in the ACC on a high note by beating NC State, 41-21.  Good luck in the B1G, Terps, because you will need it!  Syracuse held Boston College in check all night and won, 34-31, to become bowl eligible.  Virginia Tech ended it’s season on a high note, as well, by beating Virginia, 16-6. The Hokies got the win but needed a Duke loss today to get into the ACC title game.  Beamer-ball will have to wait until bowl season to get back at it.  Miami finished an amazing 9-3 season by beating Pitt, 41-31.  After taking so much flak for being a weak conference, the ACC really stepped up this year thanks to Florida State, Duke, Clemson, and Miami.

3. Baylor rebounded from their loss last week with a 41-38 win over TCU.  It was not easy for the Bears, but they got the win.  Baylor now needs Oklahoma to beat Oklahoma State next week for a shot at a conference title — and BCS bowl game.

BIG-12 QUICK HITS: Kansas State got their 5th-straight win over Kansas, 31-10.  It took three overtimes, but Iowa State got the 52-44 win over West Virginia.  Both teams are glad to finally put this season to rest.  Texas kept it’s slim Big-12 title hopes alive with a 41-16 smack down of Texas Tech.  Tech was a feel good story at the beginning of the year but ended the season on a 5-game losing streak.

4. Ohio State and Michigan did not disappoint in their meeting this weekend.  Touchdowns were scored, punches were thrown and a dramatic finish was seen by all who watched.  Michigan scored with less than 30 seconds to go, making the score 42-41, Ohio State.  Michigan then opted to go for the win with a two-point conversion, but Michigan QB Gardner was picked off and the win was sealed for the Buckeyes.  Thanks to an Alabama upset, Ohio State fans have a shot at playing for the national title.

B1G QUICK HITS: Michigan State has probably been the least-exciting 11-1 team to watch this season.  They beat Minnesota, 14-3, and are just fine with grinding out a win and relying on their defense to get after it.  Indiana beat their rival in-state Purdue, 56-36, and hopes the momentum will follow into basketball season.  Penn State knocked off Wisconsin, 31-24, to end the Badgers’ BCS hopes. Northwestern FINALLY got a win in the B1G after beating Illinois, 37-34.  Iowa beat Nebraska, 38-17, and Bo Pelini told everyone “just fire me if you want,” after questioned about his job status at Nebraska.  Pelini said the rumors about his job security have been a distraction and I couldn’t agree more.  He was winning most of the season but still had to fight for his job.  Give the man a break.

5. Throw out the records when the Civil War is played between Oregon and Oregon State.  Oregon got their point a minute offense going when they needed it most — in the 4th quarter.  Oregon’s Marcus Mariota was able to lead his team on a game-winning drive to secure the 36-35 win over the Beavers.  Great game and interesting uniform combinations.

PAC-12 QUICK HITS: Utah beat Colorado, 24-17, barely.  Both schools look to improve and become bowl eligible next season. Stanford beat Notre Dame, 27-20, to improve to 10-2 and are now ready to start preparing for the PAC-12 title game in Tempe.  UCLA beat their cross-town rival USC, 35-14.  USC finished 9-4, which is not a bad finish for Coach “O” given the mess Lane Kiffin left behind, yet they still need to go out and hire a high-profile coach.  Washington won the Apple Cup, 27-17, over Washington State. Arizona State downed its rival Arizona, 58-21 in the battle for the Territorial Cup, and will play for its 2nd Rose Bowl appearance with a win in the PAC-12 title game next week.

BEST OF THE REST: Fresno State was looking to be a BCS darling, but San Jose State ended those dreams with a 62-52 win. Northern Illinois was happy for the loss and hopes to be in position to earn that “Cinderella” BCS spot after they won 33-14, over Western Michigan.  UCF earned a share of the AAC title with a 23-20 win over USF.  One more win and the Golden Knights will earn its school’s first BCS bowl bid.  Let’s give props to Southern Miss for winning its first game of the year in its final game, 62-27, over UAB.  Finally!  Utah State’s season looked over when it lost its starting QB, Heisman-hopeful Chuck Keeton to injury, but they rallied to secure a spot in the Mountain West title game after beating Wyoming, 35-7.  Congrats to them.

What a great season we college football fans have had!  Rivalry week could not have been more exciting! The Auburn-‘Bama game will go down as an instant classic — probably the game of the year.  Ohio State and Michigan provided us with some fireworks.  The SEC has been dethroned.  FSU looks to be in the driver’s seat as the new No. 1 team in the country.  Wow — and we still have Championship Week coming up!


1. Heisman hopeful hurt

2. Bo Pelini safe

3. Texas A&M planning for future

4. College football mailbag

5.  War Eagle and stuff


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